tv BBC Newsnight PBS January 7, 2012 5:00am-5:30am EST
solutions in a wide range of agencies. what can we do for you? >> in a special edition of news night, we go to the economic powerhouse of south africa. the country has enjoyed in st. growth. we examine how the country harnessed its natural resources to become the world's's leading economy. >> it popped up out of the water and got them. >> we meet those protecting the environment. >> these are huge conservation gains that have never been achieved in the history of the world. >> a logging truck right down there. they just landed a helicopter.
the officers are going over to the tracks, which clearly has gotten cut logs on it. >> hello. south america's most influential country, brazil is one of the few countries to enjoy a boom amid the global economic downturn. it is the world's six largest economy, much of the well comes from its large amount of natural resources. the country was lumped together with russia, india, and china and the akron them brick was born 00 bric w-- bric was born.
>> the capital city was built as a statement of intent. brazil's ambition is to become a dynamic modern nation. the economic boom in which this city was born turned to bust. the modern future that brasilia was designed to m body remained out of reach. then they modernism of this place seems to give choose to the old joke about brazil. brazil is the country of tomorrow and always will be. brazil's tomorrow seems to have finally arrived. it's this success was literally out in the country paul so vast interior. -- country's vast interior.
he runs one of the largest farming enterprises in the world. >> brazil has the capacity to feed everyone in the world. >> a modest ambition. >> brazil leads the world in so late. -- in soy. first in or jews. -- orange juice. the big grocery of the world. he has good reason to feel cocky. 40 years ago, brazil was a net importer of food. now it is an agricultural superpower. the key to this transformation something very unfashionable, estate planning. >> brazil's secret was not
something created overnight. it was the result of planning. in reality, that protests began nearly 40 years ago when brazil's government created a state enterprise. the agricultural research corporation. >> he has been dubbed the king of soy because of his dominance of this key brazilian export. he has presidential ambitions, say insiders. >> that state organization was born with the mission of sending abroad hundreds of technicians, men and women, to be trained at universities in the united states, britain and other places. they returned with a large body of scientific knowledge. we begin to develop our own
systems, tropical agriculture. >> government planning may have created the agricultural miracle, but it does not sustain its bank. unlike europe or america, brazilian farms flores without subsidy. brazil did not put the b into bric based on agriculture alone. it has countless other minerals. it recently discovered huge oil reserves and is spending record amounts to get the stuff out. >> we are talking about a program that is $227 billion in the next four years. >> this is an investment. >> yes. >> the game changer for brazil is the prices it has been getting for the commodities in has in abundance.
thanks to the huge demand created by the rapid industrialization of china and india. he is a chinese born brazilian and the linchpin of many deals between brazil and china. >> the brazilian and chinese economies are complementary. brazil needs capital to create jobs in brazil and to grow its economy. chinese the strategic resources for sustained growth than to feed its people. >> this edition of harmony is the economy's neatly complementing each other does not quite hold. in the past year, growth has slowed to 3.5%, half of what china and india achieved last year.
one reason is what brazilians call the hidden cost of doing business here. restrictive labor laws and corruption. at the top of the list is infrastructure. this is the main highway, the heart of brazil's agricultural bonanza. is just a single lane highway. millions of tons of soy, beef shipped down this road every single year. during harvest time, this becomes one slow traffic jam hundred and hundreds of kilometers long. but complaints about the roads paled in insignificance beside the other brazilian bugbear,
commodities. the prices of commodities -- currency has gone through the roof. >> china will eat us up. that it will be india as well. the brazilian government needs to watch out for this. know exactly how far it can go and at what point they need to step in and come to the defense of brazilian industry. >> there are challenges ahead. brazil has weathered the current financial situation better than other nations. it is not a creditor. it lends money to the imf. the world of modernity that inspired the architect of brazil
may look a little out of date. brazil is very much a modern nation. >> among brazil's most precious natural resources is the amazon rain forest. important expanses of the earth's surface are being destroyed. in 2005, the government reported that 1/6 had been cleared by deforestation. >> in a sleepy town on the edge of the amazon, officers found the brazilian environment agency 3 lacks in the minutes before a jumble rate. relax ine in the --
the minutes before a? a jungle raid. >> he says there is nothing to worry about. >> for years, before its frontier was out of control. in 2004, an average of 20,000 square kilometers of flores was lost every year. -- forest. was lost every year. what has changed is the attitude of the. discovered -- brazilian government. 8 years ago, brazil realized it had a unique opportunity. it could go green, cut carbon emissions by just stopping the destruction of the forest. it would barely affect economic growth. brazil decided to declare war on deforestation.
how confident are you that brazil can successfully protect the amazon? >> totally confident. >> you cannot go to battle thinking you are going to lose. that is certainly what churchill thought. now the state has decided it does not want that anymore. a key problem has always been the shared size of the amazon. a big area has been cleared completely. i see a logging truck right down there. we just landed a helicopter. the officers are going over to the truck. it has clearly -- it clearly has first cut logs on it.
the guys seem to have run off into the woods. they were here a momenten we lal here. they must be around here somewhere. he has only six helicopters and 600 officers in the field at all -- at one time. they have to control an area of 4 million square kilometers. it is the size of a continent. new technology have come -- has come to the aid of the amazon. they want to show me the powerful new weapon in their armory. we are about to enter the nerve center of brazil's operation to stop deforestation. the situation room. let's have a look at that.
it is a little bit disappointing. it looks like a call center in a bank. the new satellite monitoring technology they are using means it is now almost impossible to cut down parts of the forest without being spotted. often do you get images? >> each day we be seeing information and we send to our field people. >> you can watch deforestation on folding sitting at your desk in the middle of basilian? >> yes. we can arrive there and punish the people. >> you are arrive just as they begin to cut the trees? >> yes. >> it has made the city much more effective.
the environment agency still does not get its nanette three- time. they have run off into the forest. -- the environment agency still does not get its man every time. they have run off into the forest. we will wait here to see if they come back. it seems like a longshot to me. it is not just the attitude of the government that is changing. john carter is an ex u.s. special operations soldier. ranchers and farmers have traditionally been the baddies in these stories. -- badies in the stories. but john had a change of heart.
it took me out to a project he set up. that is absolutely amazing. >> today is the day they were supposed to be hatched. the first jaguar i saw was in 1993. he was about 10 feet away from me. it is an exhilarating experience. it epitomizes the amazon to me. it epitomizes that frontier while the wilderness that still exists. i always tell my wife, when there is a day when there is no data are left in this region, that is when i want to -- no ja guar in this region, that is what i want to leave. >> john took me to see one of
the members of his alliance. when he arrived here 26 years ago, this whole area was dense rain forest. he has cut most of -- most of it down to grow soya. the combination of tough government rules and his persuasion has made him change his mind. >> his idealism has been like a light for us. i have planted new trees by my stream. the attitude of the farmers has really changed. we want to do the right thing. powers of persuasion became apparent when i calmed myself agreeing to a dip in the river near his ranch.
the amazon's top predator. he has been running for years now and has almost 500 members. john hopes he will half financial incentives for the farmers to do the right thing -- have financial incentives for the farmers to do the right thing. >> if we have enough farmland, we can supply the mcdonnell to all of north america. mcdonald's to all of north america. >> during the peak of amazon deforestation, a new player had emerged. this --
new strains of tropical soya, some of the most efficient enterprises on the planet. they were growing fast quantities of -- vast quantities of soya. some farmers were illegally clearing land. >> you can see soy on many of farms we are -- flying over. >> the idea was to rid crowd -- recruit a power of the world's consumers to persuade the soy industry to change its ways. it seems to work.
the threat of losing key markets abroad proved persuasive. in the thousand six, the traders agreed to a moratorium, guaranteeing day -- in the thousand six, the traders agree to a moratorium a-- 2006, the traders agree to a moratorium. this combination of different pressures, approved monitoring and enforcement by the brazilian government, and a change of attitude among amazonian farmers have come together to remarkable effect. the loggers did come back. here is one of them.
the helicopter is coming back. we have to see if the agent is going to catch another one. last year saw the lowest level of deforestation in the amazon since records began in 1980. just over 16,000 square kilometers were cut. it seems the underlying economics have not really changed. did it worry you that you were damaging the orange? >> i know it is wrong. i have seen it on tv. what can i do. if i do not work, i do not eat. >> in one remote amazonian state, they found an unexpected way to began to tilt the economic back in favor of the trees. it is 3:00 a.m. and i am being
led to deep into the virgin rainforest. we are equipped for action and about to head into the jungle to see a project that is the holy grail of forest conservation, reversing the logic of deforestation so that it is more profitable for local people to keep the jungle standing ban to cut it down. how have they done it. ? >> put it like that. ok. that is hard. >> it is very hard. >> this is rubber tapping done in the traditional way, from trees grow wild in the jungle.
how have they managed to make wild amazonian rubber profitable again? here is how. they use it to make these. the world's first rain forest friendly condom . hundreds of millions of them every year. these ladies are officially condom testers. it is a money job. all of these activities would not be profitable on their on. where are you going to get that money from? >> if we protect the forests, we do not have deforestation. if we do not have deforestation, we do not have carbon emissions. if we do not have carbon credit, we cannot sell.
>> those carbon credits could soon have real value. at the international planet conference, there was agreement on a scheme to funnel cash up to $100 billion from developed countries into projects like this. in the past year, there has been a backlash from the farming sector in brazil. the brazilian parliament has voted to cut the area of forest amazon farmers -have to keep on their land. the change can only be stopped if the brazilian president vetoes it. what are you doing? >> so the car can get started.
>> he is studying the effect of fire on the floors and the long- term future of the amazon. he is one of the leading tourist scientists. >> if you say it is in the name of science, you are the scientists. >> i get the opportunity to set fire to the rain forests of the amazon. he believes it is not too late to save the amazon. almost 80% of the forest is still standing. he says the battle has reached a crucial phase. >> in six years, deforestation has come down 70% below its previous 10 year average. this is a huge accomplishment. whether they can keep it up is the big question.
there is an alternative pathway that says the government becomes more relaxed, the market system disappears and it becomes a free-for-all. decisions made over the next few months will determine which direction brazil will go. >> for years, perceived wisdom was that the world's tropical forests are doomed. brazil has proven that deforestation can be contained. its achievements are fragile. it is a cause for hope. , hope that the greatest ecosystem on the planet can be protected. that is a pretty inspiring thoughts, is in its -- isn't it? >> that is all from brazil and from all of us. for this week, goodbye.
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